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Local Coronor Weighs in on Katrina

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Michael Doberson is the coronor for Arapahoe County. He’s also a Republican. He just got back from St. Gabriel, Louisiana where he has been processing dead bodies in the wake of Katrina. Here’s his take:

As the bodies from waterlogged New Orleans were lifted out of refrigerated trucks and placed on tables for identification, Arapahoe County Coroner Michael Dobersen grew increasingly angry. “People died and they didn’t have to. People died because the federal government didn’t do its job,” Dobersen said Tuesday, referring to the slow response of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others.

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This is pretty remarkable: He also processed bodies at the World Trade Center and Columbine and he says Katrina was far worse:

Dobersen said the bodies that came off the refrigerated trucks were in varying stages of decomposition. Some had been ravaged by animals, while others had been degraded to near-skeletal status by the heat and humidity. “This was the absolute worst I’ve ever seen,” said Dobersen.

Praise is due Dr. Doberson for his contribution to what had to be one of the most depressing tasks imaginable — and for maintaining this attitude during it.

Dobersen said his 150 colleagues at the St. Gabriel morgue maintained their professionalism and never lost their respect for each victim they examined. “They knew how sensitive this work was. As a physician, these are my patients,” Dobersen said. “It’s our job to speak for these people – they can’t speak for themselves.”

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